A mandate is a mandate

The 2009 Heritage Foundation Index of Economic...

The 2009 Heritage Foundation Index of Economic Freedom. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A mandate is a mandate or am I missing something? The Heritage Foundation, a right-wing think tank, and Mitt Romney have both supported healthcare mandates in the past. Now both are saying that the mandate in Obamacare is different from what they proposed. What is the difference? In order to work, everyone must be covered so that the risks are spread between the ill and the healthy. If only the ill or those prone to illness purchase insurance, the rates will be too high for many of us to afford. Premiums from the healthy are required to make the system function. And the healthy can be struck with accident or illness at any time. Then it will too late to purchase healthcare insurance. Just try to buy auto insurance after you have had an accident or a vehicle stolen.


21 thoughts on “A mandate is a mandate


  2. walthe310 – Have you decided to switch sides in this debate? Surely you are not suggesting that nothing has changed in 209 years. There have been no amendments to the Constitution (Have you read number 16?)? No increases in the size of the Federal Government? No arbitrary assumptions of Federal power? No inflation? No worries about a government that taxes and spends so much it strangles the economy?

    • The government is not strangling the economy with taxes and spending. You could make an argument about government regulations. I think the key is not taxes; the key is education. If the electorate is educated and the media tells a straight story, I don’t think that there is much to worry about. I haven’t been in a high school in 50 years so I am not aware of how we are doing on education. I believe that all the criticism of teachers is partly or mostly a war by the Right on teachers’ unions. I have home schooled so that I know how hard it is. Do the religious home schoolers in this country teach what children need to know to be good citizens or do they resemble the Saudi financed madrassas in Pakistan? I intend to research this question myself.

  3. walthe310 – A separate post in reply? I am honored. Thank you.

    When you write your post, please do me one further favor. Consider the following issues.
    1. The moral issue. By what right does government tax us? What differentiates taxation from stealing? If government is to serve the people, and the people not serve government, then there must be an overwhelming benefit to the people to pay taxes. For example, without a government to defend our property rights, we would have a very difficult time accumulating any property at all.
    2. The control issue. When government takes over the function of charity, the distribution of charity becomes a monopoly. In addition, government-run charity allows the recipients of charity to vote themselves benefits. Thus, what some politicians may have started with good intentions becomes a profound temptation to their successors, a ready means to buy votes. Since this control problem is so predicable, it does not well illustrate the law of unintended consequences. Instead, the word gullible comes to mind, but I must admit that before I figured this out I was of a middle-age.
    3. The who runs the charity issue. Part of your argument for government-run charity is that private charity is inadequate. By what standard does government-run charity can do better? What can a monopolistic system that deprives both the “donors” and the recipients of any alternative choice do better? When government-run charity poses such an obvious threat to the integrity of our government, what benefit justifies it?
    4. The need issue. For the sake of argument, lets assume for moment the end does justify the means. Let’s assume the end, government-run — involuntary — charity, is so much better than voluntary charity that we must sacrifice the individual’s right to his own property in order to have it. That is, involuntary charity — stealing — is superior to what we use to think of as Christian charity. Would that be sufficient justification? Would the end justify the means? Would this right reason be sufficient justification to the wrong thing?

    • I am still thinking about what you said. I will write my response in a day or two. The short answer to what justifies government taxes is the preservation of life, all life, not just the winners in the race for riches. Social Darwinism is a subject that waxes and wanes in popularity. I am reading about it here in the US, but I do not support it.

      • Implying I do? Do you really have the basis for such an assertion?

        If government-run charity is a solution that works, then you ought to be able to find an example of socialism that continued to work beyond several generations. Instead, what you find are societies where the People slowly lose respect for hard work, particularly manual labor.

        You may wish to read what Alexis De Tocqueville said about slavery. Does the word slavery seem harsh. When we allow government to redistribute the wealth, have we not allowed government the power to tax 100 percent of what we earn? No? Then explain your philosophy.

      • I not implying anything. Both Daniel Webster and John Marshall stated that the power to tax is the power to destroy; that was in 1803. The US is still here, 209 years later

  4. The point of this individual mandate is to fund a government-run charity. The basic problem with government-run charities is a moral problem. When redistribute the wealth, we by definition steal. Just because the thieves are in the majority does not make it ethical to take what rightfully belongs to one person and give it to another.


    In a republic, citizens charter government to protect their rights. When citizens define their rights Conservatively, then they define a right as something that others can only take away. So long as citizens define their rights Conservatively, their government exists only to protect their rights. If, however, citizens define their rights as those who have corrupted the word Liberal define a right, then they entitle their leaders to steal from some citizens to give other citizens their “rights”. When rights are defined in the corrupted Liberal sense, government exists to steal.

    Leaders of a government that steals must inevitably become immoral. Such leaders do not keep their oath of office. Thus, our Constitution has become a “living” document, and our leaders spend more time dodging responsibility and scheming for power and influence than they do protecting our rights.

    • Government exists to do collectively what citizens cannot do individually, such as deliver the mail, build bridges, pave roads that front public lands, provide defense, fire and police protection, provide safe skies through the FAA, regulate food and drug providers, etc. To do that government must “steal” from its citizens in the form of taxes voted on directly through propositions such as in California or through elected representatives. If government does not provide healthcare, are we to rely on volunteers? And if a volunteer is not available, are we to allow the injured to die where they fall because of lack of timely care? Would you rely on private firms to provide transit to private hospitals if you had to prove ability to pay first? I would not and I have had to rely on ambulances and hospitals for care after accidents. My wife and I both worked in hospitals, and patients were cared for, ability to pay or not. Of course, the rest of us paid for their care through insurance premiums, taxes, and lower salaries for our services.

      • There are practical problems, but some times they are more illusory than real. Now that government charity has been so successful in snuffing out private charity, private charity it seems impossible. How did that happen? The reason is simple. When government starts paying for something, donors see little advantage in competing. It seems that even nonprofits see little to gain by competing with the bottomless pockets of a government monopoly.

        Are you familiar with user fees and tolls? We can easily pay for things like mail, bridges, and roads with user fees.

        What are the things we must pay for collectively? Those involve paying to protect our rights to life, liberty, and property. Such includes national defense, police protection, certain regulatory agencies like the FAA and the FDA, etc. Such are the functions the Founders provided in our Constitution. There is no reason for the Federal Government to involve itself in the delivery of routine health care. The poor the and uninsured can use charity hospitals just as they did in the past.

        Consider that the end does not justify the means. We error when we focus on the end and not doing the right thing for right reason. When we demand our government do things we can and should do ourselves, like being charitable to our neighbors, we just corrupt our government.

      • I am going to write a separate post in reply. Private charity, even when government did not compete, was inadequate to the task. Government will not compete in providing healthcare, just in paying for it.

  5. Indeed. Obama actually opposed the mandate originally- but was swaed by both prominent republicans such as Richard Grassley and the democrats who after the failed Clinton Plan realized they would have to accept the republican plan to get a bill passed.

    Sorry to C/P- but here’s a response I’ve made to criticism of the mandate:
    The individual mandate was a republican idea, first developed in the late 80’s, improved by the Heritage Foundation, introduced and widely supported by republicans in 1993, incorporated in Romneycare with glowing praise from Republicans and the Heritage Foundation, and supported and pushed by many republicans at the beginning of the Obamacare debate
    See my blogs here: http://goo.gl/2eRi7 and here: http://goo.gl/jVWgI

    And of course Paul Ryan and the Republicans “new and improved” plan is even me egregious- see my blog here: http://goo.gl/cYoFj

    And oh yes- as much as the right has been claiming that a majority of americans are opposed to Obamacare, the polls that have dug a little deeper found that in fact around 10% of those “opposed” are not actually against obamacare per se- but feel that it doesn’t go far enough (ie: no public option), which changes the truth of what these numbers are saying. See my blog here: http://goo.gl/F3jL6

  6. I read that “The Hill” article you posted and it got me thinking. Obama could actually turn it back around on them, “Well we tried placating the Republicans by putting their individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act but that was found unconstitutional so we should now try the original Democrats’ idea of the public option which by no means violates our founding document.”

    I suppose there’d be a little backlash as people try to put it back on him trying to blame someone else. I guess, if believed that wouldn’t be very popular for him. But maybe it’s worth a try.

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